Okay so technically I have not been blogging full-time for a full year yet. That’ll be in February. But the end of the year is always a good time to reflect on things and I’d like to think that 10 months of blogging full-time is more or less the same as 12 months of doing it.
Here are 6 things I learned in 2018 as a new full-time blogger, as well as some of my favorite outfits and photos form the year:
1. The hardest part about blogging for me is brushing my teeth.
It’s true, more or less. People have asked me what the hardest part is about working for myself. And while it’s true that you have to be really scrappy and hustle for the dollar, the hardest thing for me this year has honestly been adjusting to not going into an office. I have worked since I was 15 ½, and I’ve always had a job where I needed to get up, shower, get dressed, and go somewhere.
A lot of people and brands that I work with are on the east coast, so it’s really easy to check my email from bed first thing in the morning and then get caught up in emails an hour later in the same spot. This sounds silly, but there are absolutely days where I just get up, start working, and then it’s 3pm and I haven’t brushed my teeth or changed out of pajamas. That’s actually me right now, but when the thoughts hit you have to write them! Sure, I’m really productive on these days, but there’s something that makes me feel kind of blah sitting in pajamas all day.
I’m still trying to find a balance to this. I try to get my workouts done in the morning because a workout will force me to shower and get ready for the day.
2. Blogging can actually get kind of lonely.
Yes, there are events and photo shoots, but about 90% of my time is spent in front of my computer researching, writing, and doing admin tasks like emailing and finances. This is actually another reason why I like to workout; it gives me human interaction that we as individuals all crave and need.
I would like to really try to get out more in 2019, even if that means taking my computer to a coffee shop down the street for an hour, or treating myself to a cute lunch just for a change of scenery. I find myself talking Matt’s ear off when he comes home from work because sometimes I don’t interact with anyone all day. Regardless of how busy I was at my corporate jobs, I was always surrounded by people, even if I only had time to say hi to others in passing.
3. You will look at everything under a microscope.
Maybe it’s because I was juggling basically two jobs in the past, but man, I have never been so critical of my Instagram post performances, etc until I started doing this full-time. For one, I didn’t have time to constantly check in on the ‘gram all day every day when I worked at an office. But secondly, this also wasn’t my livelihood. Every like, increase of followers, and overall growth means new opportunities for me to work with new brands and help justify pricing to get paid and make a living. When something like this is your full-time job, you can’t help but keep tabs on every little up and down.
(This is why if you love a post or photo, it means the world to people like us to comment, like, and share with friends! This also goes for a link in blog posts. If you like an item you see in a post and you click and purchase, bloggers make money.)
4. There is no such thing as a day off.
This is closely related to the above. When you work for yourself, you’re constantly thinking about your job. Every time I travel, I’m always thinking about photos that I can share with you. I’m always shopping because I want to share my favorite finds. I work on the weekends. I work at night. I work at 4am to post a giveaway so it coincides with bloggers on the east coast I’m teaming up with. While I say there are no days off, there are of course ways to plan so that you can take breaks. You have to or you’ll go crazy.
I love to share as much as I can on Stories but the truth is I sometimes also love things for me. I’ve gotten facials without sharing every moment of it; that time is for me. I go to spin class where it’s literally impossible to film; that hour is mine and mine alone (actually it’s mine and 50 other people’s but you know what I mean). I try to cut back on Stories in the evenings and on the weekend when Matt is with me, because while I like all of you, I’d rather hang out with him. (Sorry, but it’s the truth!) So I am learning that while technically there are no days off, you can have moments off. Embrace them.
5. It’s not always about the money, but know your worth.
I made the mistake of thinking this right when I started doing this full-time. This is a fine line and there’s so much gray area here. Look, on one hand, those free t-shirts don’t pay the bills. But if you see opportunity beyond an initial gifting transaction, take it. I only accept things (paid and non-paid) if I am a general consumer of said product. Do I need body wash right now? Absolutely not, but will I have to buy body wash when mine runs out? Yes. So why not accept?
On the other side of this, there will always be those brands that send a creative brief with specific deadlines, creative considerations, campaign details, and tagging requirements. If a brand is coming to me with things like that, it’s because I have something they want or need, and this is where “know your worth” comes into play. This is my time! This is my money! I have learned not to be afraid to ask for money. Explain why you are asking for it, but don’t apologize.
If a brand comes back to you with terms you don’t think are worth your time and effort, or you don’t feel excited about it, don’t be afraid to say no. (Learning to say no is a bonus 7th thing I have learned this year.)
6. If it were easy, everyone would do it.
Cheesy and over said, but true. More recently, I have had other bloggers send me DMs complimenting or admiring my success. Here’s the thing (well, two things):
1. I love this so much that last year I literally burnt myself out and had to make a choice between a desk job and this one. Every second I wasn’t in the office I was focusing on Charmed by Camille. I chose to blog, and it was a huge risk. I also was lucky enough to be in a financial situation with Matt to make this work.
Blogging full-time is not everyone’s goal and I don’t think that you have to choose one or the other to be a successful blogger. In fact, props to all the people who can juggle both and keep growing. For me, I wasn’t able to do this and it was too much for me, so I picked one. Figure out what you want out of your blog. Not everyone wants to be their own boss; there is no steady paycheck or peace of mind in money. I always knew I wanted to make this a business and so I set myself up that way from the beginning.
2. Whatever “success” I have had has not come from luck. I truly believe all of my previous corporate jobs have led me to this point, but I also work hard for it. I have a degree in Communication, minor in Graphic Design and Master’s Degree in PR. I know how to pitch myself because I literally have a degree in pitching. I save money by making my own graphics, logos, etc instead of paying someone else because I know how to use Photoshop. My two careers in fashion and beauty make me semi-expert in both industries, but I also have a marketing background and led social media and content creation at my last job. It was literally my life before blogging even crossed my mind. So I didn’t just poof out of nowhere. Everything from college to now prepared me to be a blogger.
I wake up early almost everyday and while I still might be in PJs per #1, I try to keep a schedule between 9 – 5 when I can. I bought a desktop computer this year and cleaned up my office so that it was a place I wanted to be. I try to workout before 9am because that’s when “work” starts and when I need to be “in the office.” I try to close the door when I’m done in the evening (although if you read #4, I’m still on my phone on the couch). And during those traditional work hours I am researching, emailing, and getting a lot of NOs. For every campaign I get, I probably get 5-8 NO answers before that. I’m going page by page on brand sites, creeping on IG and searching LinkedIn for contacts. I make email templates. I have a press kit that I update every month.
Every Monday I update invoices and transactions and schedule my week. So while I’m not trying to complain or prove to you that “blogging is hard!” just know that it also doesn’t come without work. A lot of it. But no job does, especially when it’s your own business. And most of it you don’t see until it shows up as a pretty photo on Instagram with #ad.
In the beginning of the year, I really questioned whether or not I could actually make this work. I’ve learned to give myself time and grace and to treat this like a new job out of college. When I was 21, I was entry-level and had no expectation to be a CEO within a year, so why do that to myself now? Things have started to fall into place over time, and things can only go up from here. I’m better at pitching now than I was when I started blogging full-time. My photos are better. My press kit is a whole lot nicer.
And how cool is it that we live in a world where we can make this into an actual thing?